Ambulatory Health Care vs. Business Occupancy

Eugene A. Cable – Professional Engineer, Life Safety Consultants

Joint Commission has captured this requirement in a note to the LS.01.01.01 Life Safety Code SOC Standard, stating for all ambulatory surgery centers the SOC requirements apply regardless of the number of patients rendered incapable. The definition of surgery is broad and includes other invasive and diagnostic procedures involving anesthesia. The CMS Law has been around a long time, the emphasis on one patient rendered incapable is new and represents a change.
It also represents a departure from NFPA 101 intent that is much more restrictive.

Facility Designers and Managers often ask; what are the design differences between Business Occupancy and Ambulatory Health Care (AHC) and what would the impact be if we changed the design to meet AHC?. What is the impact to existing facilities if an AHJ orders the Occupancy Classification be changed to Ambulatory Health Care? And, what would be the required operational changes such as within the fire plan and fire drill requirements.

Based on NFPA 101, 2012 Edition, this presentation answers those questions, item by item, and offers a one page summary chart.

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